The Top Reasons Companies Survey Their Employees
As a business owner, ask yourself how happy and engaged you think your employees might be. If you find yourself unsure, it might be time to consider asking them. But what’s the best approach to that scenario? Is a direct conversation appropriate? Would anonymity yield better results? What’s the best way to guarantee honest, actionable feedback?
If you’re struggling with the concept, the truth is that you’re not alone. Companies worldwide wrestle with employee engagement, often turning to software and other methods to maintain a productive, happier workforce. In this article, we’ll explain why employee surveys act as one of the very best methods for employee engagement, along with a list of the top reasons it makes sense for your organization.
It Helps to Nail Down Employee Sentiment
The first and foremost reason for employee surveys is a quick look at how your employees feel while on the job. Do they enjoy their work overall, or do they feel there are some areas the company could improve?
For example, let’s say your company offers various “perks” on every job posting. These might include weekly catered lunches, generous PTO, or sporadic opportunities to work from home. As an employer, you might look at these perks and the current productivity of your workforce and assume that your employees are 100% happy with the status quo.
Out of curiosity however, you conduct a survey and find that the results are far from what you imagined. While some employees love the weekly catered lunches, a great number of them wish they were offered more often. Likewise, while the PTO is appreciated, a great number of employees feel it should be unlimited, as this is more in line with more modern, progressive companies. Furthermore, though most employees appreciate the rare opportunities to work from home, several employees note that their positions could be or should be fully remote, with detailed reasoning included.
You’re now faced with some tough decisions. Based on this feedback, you could maintain the status quo with a quick word on your reasoning in an upcoming meeting. After all, you’re the head of the company, and things seem to be going well. However, you could shake things up a bit. To improve employee sentiment (and boost morale), you could choose to surprise everyone with sweeping changes, granting some or all of those requests within a few months’ time. No matter your decision, these insights wouldn’t have been possible without the help of that survey.
It Gives Your Employees a True Voice
As with any relationship, true respect comes when both parties feel heard. After all, it’s one thing to tell someone that you care about their feelings or plight, but it’s another thing entirely to show this with action.
This is especially true in employer and employee relationships, as simple lip service won’t cut it most of the time. Most employees know when they’re being pandered to, and a greater number understand the difference between a boss who is proactive to solicit feedback vs. one who merely does it for appearances.
As an employer, it’s up to you to build and maintain employee trust through proactive conversation. Your employees need to feel as though their voice is truly heard, and you give them that voice when you conduct regular engagement surveys. In the end, your employees are much more likely to follow you in your goals when they believe in not only the destination, but their part in the journey.
It Helps to Drive Company Growth
Speaking of journeys, one of the biggest parts of the employee experience is having the right tools for success. No one likes to feel useless, so for the sake of argument, let’s say your employee survey indicates that employees feel ill-equipped to do their job. Whether it’s outdated software or outdated machinery, the feedback you are given suggests that the company could do a lot to help out.
The smart play in this situation is to listen. Further research into their concerns might very well highlight some newer technology, and that technology might make employee lives a lot easier, leading to some exciting, company-wide opportunities.
On the other hand, that research could also highlight that employees feel certain policies are holding them back. As another example, let’s say that your survey reveals that the strict 9-5 policy adopted by your company is tremendously disliked by nearly every employee. Furthermore, your company has seen a large exodus of quality employees in recent years, but you’re fairly sure that this wasn’t the only reason. However, can you honestly say that this policy didn’t contribute in some way? Can you truly be sure that those employees weren’t actively seeking an employer offering more flexibility before giving their notice?
Armed with this type of information, smart employers will ultimately sit down and try to map out a compromise that works for both parties. Whether that’s through sweeping policy changes or a test-run of new ideas, acting on that information goes a long way towards creating a newer, more appealing company culture, one that ultimately helps to drive company growth.
It Highlights Comparisons Between Different Departments
Anyone who’s ever worked in a corporate office is familiar with the typical stories passed around between departments: “That manager is a total jerk,” or “That manager is amazing. I wish they were mine.” While these stories tend to be passed around lunch breaks or in quieter conversations, they occasionally find their way onto surveys in the form of scores.
Maybe the head of marketing got some nasty comments, but the head of customer service got glowing reviews. Your marketing department seems almost disengaged lately, but your customer service team has seen an influx in praise from your customers. As the head of the entire company, this kind of information is extremely valuable, because it lets you study that input to see where things are and clearly aren’t working.
It’s the Fastest and Easiest Way to Measure Employee Engagement
When it comes down to it, time is money, and time spent gathering feedback needs to be spent efficiently. It’d be hard to imagine gathering feedback from 100 employees through one-on-one conversations, and as outlined in this article, it’d be equally hard to imagine that all of that feedback would be genuine. Workers might feel too scared to lose their jobs, and managers might feel pressured to look past bad behavior so as not to “rock the boat.”
Optimizing the process makes logical sense, and making use of employee surveys is the clear solution. If your employees have felt overworked and undervalued, you gain that information quickly. If one of your supervisors is exceptionally more liked vs. another, that information finds its way up the corporate ladder long before it can cause major issues. Furthermore, if certain policies are at the heart of employee turnover, you gain those insights to act on them before losing more valuable employees. For all intents and purposes, regularly surveying your employees has no legitimate downside.
It’s Incredibly Easy to Implement
Last but certainly not least, companies survey their employees because the process is incredibly easy to implement, and typically bundled with other employee productivity software. This comes with some natural advantages, as companies looking to enhance their overall productivity will likely gravitate towards software that provides valuable insights towards this end. Furthermore, because these software packages integrate so well with similar project management and human resources platforms, companies can’t help but test drive some demos along the way.
Should you find yourself curious to see the difference employee surveys could make for your organization, we urge you to do the same. After all, people are the key to a healthy, profitable business. It only makes sense to see how yours are feeling today.